What are examples of times you have been rebellious? What were the results? I remember a time I stole candy from the neighborhood store. Somehow my mother learned of my action when I got home. Not only did she march me back to the store so I could apologize for my actions, and repay the storeowner from my piggy bank, she then disciplined me when we got home. I was also still subject to my dad’s punishment when he got home from work. For the record, that was two spankings that day.
As a kid growing up, it did not matter if I did not like the rules my parents established for my siblings and me. I could not ignore them either, because there were always consequences. I deduced fairly quickly as a child that my parents were serious about teaching us right from wrong, and reinforcing the sort of behavior they expected. Their consistent efforts helped root out a tendency in me to become rebellious.
By contrast, I saw a few friends whose parents appeared a bit passive in the discipline department and my classmates were allowed to develop and carry a rebellious attitude as they went from elementary to junior high and high school. That’s when I realized what mom had said so often had merit: “What you feed grows.”
Most of us agree that taken too far, rebellious behavior can be devastating. A story from an Old Testament man can be helpful in illustrating a lesson learned the hard way.
Read Jeremiah 52:1-11.
A young college-age man named Zedekiah was twenty-one when he became king of Judah. He was actually put in leadership as a sort of puppet leader by King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. But Zedekiah did not live according to the rules of God. Jeremiah 37:2 records, “Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the Lord had spoken.” King Z even threw the prophet Jeremiah into prison (v 21).
Finally, “Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (52:3) and Nebuchadnezzar had enough. He sent the Babylon army to destroy Jerusalem and took the people captive. And the final consequence of Zedekiah’s rebellious nature and actions resulted in utter disgrace. V 10-11 record that, “The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon, where he was out in prison until the day of this death.”
I never considered stealing a candy bar, or other rebellious acts of my youth, as having the potential capability to bring down the United States. But Jeremiah’s account of Zedekiah’s life shows and tells us how seriously God takes rebellion. Zedekiah had a copy of God’s law accessible to him. God even sent Jeremiah to Zedekiah to make sure he understood what was expected of him. But he still did not listen.
Today we are blessed to have Scripture in our native language, wise and capable Bible teachers, Chi Alpha chapters, and even parents who long ago decided to follow the teaching of Jesus to help us learn what God expects. Walk wisely. Let us not ignore what God tells us. Disobedience is natural behavior, but obedience is learned and more useful.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz